Chase Headley is a Yankee, not a Blue Jay. That is likely for the best.
The San Diego Padres traded Headley to New York for infielder Yangervis Solarte and righty-pitcher Rafael De Paula. The Pinstripes immediately benefitted from the trade, as Headley hit a walk-off single to win his first game as a Yankee.
For New York, Headley addresses a number of issues. He provides a good bat in a weakened lineup struggling to score runs. Third base is no longer platooned, having been subjected to the Alex Rodriguez saga. The 30-year-old, switch-hitting, righty from Fountain, Colorado seems to be a good fit for the Yankees.
Headley did not come without a price, though. His salary reaches $14-15 million and will be a free agent. The Padres demanded a top prospect as compensation, which De Paula provides. And there is no guarantee that Headley will regain the form he showed the Padres if he does resign with the Yankees. His numerous injuries have plagued him from his breakout season in 2012, hitting 31 home runs. In 2014, Headley has been hitting .229 in 77 games.
These risks are exactly what Toronto wants to avoid. The Blue Jays’ own injury list has been plaguing any success they have tried to build in the last month. The devastating power of Edwin Encarnacion was neutralized by a strained quadricep. Adam Lind’s mother convinced him that playing with a fractured right foot may not be something he would want to play with for 6-8 weeks. And Brett Lawrie’s fractured right index finger has kept him from being the energetic alpha dog the Blue Jays have grown to love at third base. The last thing the Jays need is another baseball stud who may need to spend more time on the disabled list.
Headley is a good player with the potential to be a great addition for the Yankees and might have been a good solution for the Blue Jays in the short term. However, his health being in question is not something that Toronto needs, as they have enough injuries haunting their thoughts already.
The Blue Jays would have also had to give up another top prospect, which they are in short supply since last year’s trades. Aaron Sanchez would have had to take his talents to California, making him another star pitcher the Jays could have used. It’s not like the starting pitching situation has changed all that much from last year’s debacle. Jays fans are tired of listening to all of the wonderful potential in their top prospects only to have them realize it in other uniforms once they make The Show.
Brett Lawrie’s health is the biggest factor in this equation. To bring in Headley would once again leave the Blue Jays trying to ram Lawrie into the defensive puzzle. Considering he has been one of the best defensive players that the Blue Jays have had at third base in his prime, Lawrie’s return from the disabled list could easily turn into ‘The Young and the Restless’ if he feels disrespected. This is not to say that Headley would not be even better as a replacement, but without a guarantee that he would resign with the team, would the Blue Jays really want to risk all of these factors on a ‘what if’?
The Yankees helped themselves in the short term to be more of a threat in the American League East. The Blue Jays did not, but they also did not potentially damage their 2014 season or their long-term future either. Now, everyone breathe a sigh of relief for the Sanchize staying in blue and white. Feel better?